In this study of Leviticus 12–15, we will be taking a step up and a step back the topics discussed. Some of it is unsettling, and it is easy to lose ourselves in some of the more distasteful details, while forgetting the important life lessons the Holy One of Yisra’el is communicating to us.
Cleanliness is next to Godliness, so the saying goes. There are things that bring us closer to God and things that move us away from God. There are things that happen to us that are beyond our control that can make us unclean before God, but there are also things that we do to ourselves that make us unclean. That’s the underlying message of the Torah reading מצורע Metzora (“leper,” Leviticus 14–15).
Without Yeshua the Mashiakh (Jesus the Christ), we are basically “the walking dead.” Does God want us to “come as we are” and “stay as we are”? No, God wants to bring us up and if we claim to be the sons and daughters of Israel, we should be willing to follow God’s instructions to elevate us from our base selves to His higher self.
Life starts with contamination. It starts out dirty. Childbirth is messy. It’s not sinful; it’s just a fact of life.
The general Bible term for infections of skin and surfaces is “leprosy,” but it covers a host of conditions. It’s also a good parable for “rot” in our character — if the lesson isn’t taken too far.
The Torah reading תזריע Tazria (“she will conceive,” Leviticus 12–13) is concerned about what is physically dirty vs. clean, but the LORD’s lesson for us is more than skin-deep.
Because of God’s grace, we can enter God’s presence “boldly” because the perfection of Yeshua the Mashiakh (Jesus the Christ) has covered our “uncleanness.” The distinction between “clean” and “unclean” is powerfully presented by the tragic events of Leviticus 9-10 and the parable of allowable foods in Leviticus 11.
The Torah reading שּׁמיני Shemini (“eighth,” Leviticus 9–11) illustrates the pervasive problem of being internally “unclean” and approaching God presumptuously while so. Yeshua warned against that in the parable of the wedding garment and the recorded confrontation over paying Roman taxes (Matt. 22:2–21).
Leviticus 10-16, which includes the teaching on Yom haKippurim (Day of Atonement), teach God’s view of “holiness” and “cleanliness” before Him and how God makes us holy and clean.
Lev. 15:1-15 discusses what to do if a person has a discharge, such a bout of diarrhea, this text tells us what to do to take care of the one with the discharge as well as how the caretaker(s) take care of themselves that they do not catch the uncleanness.
In Leviticus 10, Aharon (Aaron) and his sons were ordained as priests. In Leviticus 11-12, they are charged with teaching the people of God to distinguish holy from unholy, “clean” from “unclean.” Once we have been taught by our High Priest, Yeshua the Mashiakh (Jesus the Christ), about what is holy and clean, we need to live in that truth. From this we learn how holiness can be just skin-deep if the heart doesn’t change.
The laws in Leviticus 12 about the “purification” of mother and newborns after delivery are perplexing. How could giving birth make the mother and babies so “unclean” before God they would need a sin offering for restoration and be separated from God’s House for so long? In the Torah, the physical requirements are a window into what God is doing to restore the world to the way it was at Creation. And these purification laws are a window into a prophecy God gave “the mother of all the living” and “the father of lies.”